Solar Energy Basics

If you’re on this page to learn the solar energy basics – how a photovoltaic cell converts sunlight into an electric charge – check out this page.

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Texas Solar Outfitters designs and installs electricity generating (PV) and water heating (Thermal) solar systems for homes as well as commercial and industrial businesses. Solar (PV) panels convert the sun’s light energy into electricity, while solar collectors extract the sun’s heat energy for domestic and industrial water heating applications.

Most commonly, a homeowner or business will install a solar PV system to generate some or all of their own electricity, while maintaing the connection to their utility – the grid. A grid-tied system balances the load demand of the property with the array’s generation capacity, drawing from the grid as needed, or putting excess solar generated power back on… essentially ‘spinning’ the meter backwards in the process.

In most cases, we recommend customers ‘size’ their grid-tied system based on the amount of electricity they use during their low load months, typically March/ April for homes in Texas. This results in a system that usually covers about 60-70% of the property’s annual electricity usage, without generating excess capacity in any month.

 

 

 

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